Prominent northern groups met in Kaduna on Saturday and asked northerners to examine “all options” in political choices ahead of 2019 — a development not particularly good for President Muhammadu Buhari who is believed to be seeking a second term in office.
While some northern governors have already endorsed Buhari for another term, the 18 northern groups –including the apex socio-cultural group Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) — warned in the communique shared with TheCable that no one “should take the North for granted”.
They also said the leadership selection process must be critically interrogated “to present the best leader to Nigeria as a whole”.
Other prominent groups that attended the summit and signed the communique are the Supreme Council for Shariah in Nigeria, Jama’atu Nasiril Islam and the northern chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria.
The Summit noted that in spite of notable successes by the Buhari administration against the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, many Northern communities still live under its threat. In many other parts of the North, communities are routinely exposed to attacks from shadowy killers, and suspicion and anger as known and suspected killers are pitching Northerners against each other. Armed bandits terrorise rural communities almost at will, while kidnappings and abductions have assumed alarming notoriety as crimes.
The nation’s security and law and order assets are stretched beyond points where they can’t provide even the most elementary confidence and protection of citizens. The North has rarely been so exposed to multiple and varied threats.
The economy of the North continues to deteriorate in spite of the evident willingness of Northerners to work hard and earn legitimate incomes. Its basic infrastructure suffers massive deficits in funding while its growing population starves from lack of critical investment in human capital development.
It added that FG’s spending is severely tilted against the North, while most state governments only pay lip service to real development in their states.
“The historic gains in Northern political unity secured by Northern votes in the 2015 elections have been wasted by the poor management of conflicts between and among Northern communities,” they said, adding that that most political office holders from the north “are hereby served notice that they have failed the test to lead the region towards economic recovery and growth”.